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A MILLION MORE LBS. OF BEEF RECALLED, 5 MILLION PIZZAS
Nearly 1.1 million pounds of ground
beef was recalled on Nov. 3rd by Cargill Inc. after
a sample taken by the U.S. Department of Agriculture
(USDA) on Oct. 8th was confirmed positive for E. coli
O157:H7. Cargill, one of the largest meat processors
in the world, had just recalled some 845,000 pounds
of ground beef on Oct. 6th due to the same bacteria
Meat in the latest recall had been distributed across
the country, but in this case no illnesses have been
associated with it. Five million pepperoni pizzas
were also recalled in early November by General Mills.
The meat is suspected in 21 cases of E. coli infection.
Health officials are said to be baffled, noting that
adequate cooking should have killed the bacteria.
E. coli cases have been on an upswing since 2005, after having been on the decline for over a decade. This year, more than 30 million pounds of ground beef have been called off the market in 18 recalls linked to at least 65 illnesses. Currently, industry initiates recalls voluntarily. In early November, USDA Undersecretary Richard Raymond told a Congressional panel that the USDA has adequate authority to conduct recalls and it would oppose efforts to make removal of suspect meat mandatory. He told the lawmakers the rise in E. coli cases were not due to companies being careless or inspectors doing sloppy work. Raymond said it could be due to weather patterns, drug resistance, or changes in feed that have increases stress on the animals who consume it. "I think it's starting with the animal's environment," Raymond said. In July, the USDA announced it increased the number of tests of ground beef by more than 75%. Last month it issued a series of initiatives to combat E. coli.
The September recall of 22 million pounds
of beef by Topps Meat Co. (see link above and http://tinyurl.com/yqso73) is blamed on the Canadian source of the meat. The
USDA has put additional requirements on meat imports
from Canada, at least temporarily. New Jersey officials
continue to find the meat on store shelves and warn
it could also still be available for sale in other
states (see: http://tinyurl.com/yubzm7).
CARGILL RECALLS 1 MILLION POUNDS OF GROUND
Reuters, November 3, 2007
UPDATE TO FROZEN PIZZA RECALL
WHAS, November 2, 2007
QUESTIONS SWIRL AROUND RECENT RISE IN E. COLI CASES
Star Tribune with The Associated Press, Matt McKinney,
November 10, 2007
USDA SAYS HAS ENOUGH LEGAL AUTHORITY TO DO RECALLS
Reuters, Christopher Doering, November 7, 2007
CANADIAN MEAT, POULTRY PLACED UNDER MORE SCRUTINY
Meat & Poultry, Bryan Salvage, November 5, 2007
MEAT INDUSTRY DISPUTES CANCER REPORT FINDINGS
Every 1.7 ounces of processed meat consumed
daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by 21%,
according to an analysis from the American Institute
for Cancer Research and the World Cancer Research
Fund. An international panel spent five years reviewing
more than 7,000 large-scale studies to develop the
report ( http://tinyurl.com/2nl92x).
Among other things, it advises consuming less than
18 ounces (500 grams) of cooked “red meat”
per week and “very little, if any” processed
meat (e.g., bacon, ham, sausage and lunchmeat). The
517-page report also warns of excess body fat being
a major risk for various cancers, stating that: "diets
with high levels of animal fats are often relatively
high in energy, increasing the risk of weight gain."
The meat industry disputes the findings, noting, among
other things, that the U.S. Dietary Guidelines are
also based on a review of scientific evidence and
include processed and other meat. It points to an
unpublished 2004 Harvard School of Public Health analysis
that concluded that red meat and processed meat were
not associated with colon cancer.
PUT DOWN THE BACON! REPORT EMPHASIZES
USA Today, Nanci Hellmich, October 31,2007
A FRESH FARM BILL
Congress is deliberating reauthorization
of the Farm Bill (a.k.a. the Farm Security and Rural
Investment Act, (see: http://tinyurl.com/37r26c)
which, among other things, will determine which food
industries get the most government aid over the next
five years. The New York Times recently editorialized:
“The Senate has one last chance to rid the country
of an irrational, outdated and unfair 70-year-old
program of federal farm supports that enriches the
few at the expense of the many, distorts international
trade and damages the environment.” In the same
edition of the paper, food policy analyst Michael
Pollan (see: http://tinyurl.com/3cvluo)
states: “Americans have begun to ask why the
farm bill is subsidizing high-fructose corn syrup
and hydrogenated oils at a time when rates of diabetes
and obesity among children are soaring, or why the
farm bill is underwriting factory farming (with subsidized
grain) when feedlot wastes are polluting the countryside
and, all too often, the meat supply.” Pollan
goes on to explain machinations behind the bill (and
see Kansas City Star article).
Commenting on the bill, Neal Barnard,
president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible
Medicine, said: "Senators take millions from
corporations that produce bacon, burgers and other
fatty foods. Then Congress buys up these unhealthy
products and dumps them on our school lunch program.
Companies get rich, and kids get fat." From 1995
to 2004, nearly three-fourths of farm bill agricultural
subsidies for food (more than $51 billion) went to
producers of sugar, oil, meat, dairy, alcohol and
feed crops used for farmed animals. Fruit and vegetable
farmers received less than 1% of the subsidies. Since
1985, the price of fruits and vegetables has increased
40% while the price of sugar and fats has declined
by 14%. Weighing in on the matter, this year the American
Medical Association’s House of Delegates passed
a resolution supporting “efforts (1) to reduce
health disparities by basing food assistance programs
on the health needs of their constituents, (2) to
provide vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains, vegetarian
foods, and healthful nondairy beverages in school
lunches and food assistance programs, and (3) to ensure
that federal subsidies encourage the consumption of
products low in fat and cholesterol” (see http://tinyurl.com/2r9937).
Pollan explains how both the House and
Senate drafts of the farm bill remain problematic.
While relatively token increases have been included
for fruits, vegetables, nuts and other “specialty
crops,” $42 billion is slated for corn, wheat,
rice, soybeans and cotton, and $5 billion is included
for a “permanent disaster” program. Pollan
and the New York Times join physicians, environmentalists,
and animal advocates in urging passage of the Farm
Ranch Equity Stewardship and Health (FRESH) Act. In
place of subsidies, the government would pay producers
when their income falls more than 15% due to inclement
weather or price drops. The estimated $20 billion
saved by the Act would go toward nutrition and environmental
FARM BELT FOLLIES
The New York Times, Editorial, November 3, 2007
WEED IT AND REAP
The New York Times, Op-Ed, Michael Pollan, November
DOCTORS BLAME CONGRESS FOR OBESITY PROBLEM, LOBBY
FOR A MORE HEALTHFUL FARM BILL
Kansas City Star, Rob Hotakainen, October 27, 2007
H5N1 HITS THE U.K. AGAIN
H5N1 avian influenza, the strain that
can cause infection and death in humans, has been
confirmed on a free-range poultry operation in East
Anglia, England. (The Daily Mail article includes
photos). It is the first incidence of the disease
strain in the U.K. since 159,000 turkeys were slaughtered
on account of it in February (see: http://tinyurl.com/37q73s).
Five workers staff the facility along with four others
run by Redgrave Poultry. Due to the possibility that
they may have transferred the virus to the other sites,
some 30,000 birds, mostly turkeys and also ducks and
geese, at the five farms are being gassed. East Anglia
produces about one-third of Britain’s turkeys.
Restriction on the movement of live farmed birds has
been imposed for 30 days on all of Suffolk and most
of Norfolk, with the birds to be kept indoors away
from wild ones. Wildfowl at a nearby lake are suspected
by the government as being the source of the virus.
However, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
points out that no wild birds tested positive for
it this autumn despite stepped up testing by the government.
Ducklings imported from the Netherlands are now being
considered as another source (see: http://tinyurl.com/2t9t2z).
The Times article includes a list of U.K poultry production
TESTS CONFIRM INFECTED NORFOLK TURKEYS
HAVE DEADLY H5N1 FLU STRAIN
Daily Mail, November 13, 2007
BIRD FLU 'MAY HAVE HIT SECOND FARM'
Telegraph, Nick Allen, November 15, 2007
LAX BIOSECURITY AT ORGANIC FARM MAY HAVE ALLOWED
VIRUS TO SPREAD
The Times, Valerie Elliott, November 14, 2007
FAITH & COMPASSION
In early November, clergy from 20 religious
faiths signed a statement declaring a moral duty to
treat animals with respect. At the ceremony, held
in Washington D.C., people of all religions were called
upon to reduce their meat consumption, buy only from
farms with humane practices, and to stop wearing fur.
The Best Friends Animal Society, which organized the
event, plans to have volunteers bring the message
to at least 2,000 congregations in the U.S. Some denominations
had already taken positions on animal welfare, such
as the United Methodist Church advocating support
of farms which provide more natural environments for
animals. Prior to becoming the pope, Benedict XVI
(then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) spoke out against
battery cages and foie gras production (see http://tinyurl.com/3assz2).
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is
devoting $400,000 to its new animals and religion
program (see http://www.hsus.org/religion/).
It encourages the religious community to foster compassion
for animals through such actions as adopting less
inhumane food choices and endorsing pro-animal legislation.
HSUS is already working with some to develop “eco-kosher”
and “eco-halal” policies.
Conservative evangelists generally view
the animal-rights movement as a threat to their belief
in humans’ God-given domination over other animals.
For example, evangelic commentator Charles Colson
writes that anti-confinement referendums “are
not really about the humane treatment of animals—they
are about blurring and eventually erasing the distinction
between people and animals” (see: http://tinyurl.com/2jknj6).
However, animal advocates are making headway even
among these conservatives. They expect religious communities
to become a major player in the animal protection
arena within the next decade. Nonreligious people
are also employing religious arguments to persuade
others. "A lot of this country is religious,
and all those religious people eat food," notes
ethicist and nonbeliever Bernard Rollin, "Whatever
EVANGELIZING FOR THE ANIMALS
The Los Angeles Times, Stephanie Simon, November 6,
ALL CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL
Keeping the Faith, Courier-Post, Kim Mulford, October